Loveland students Hannah and Alexander Laman were only eight years old, in third grade, when they read a news story about a local elementary school that did not have any books for the children. It was a shock for them to learn some children and schools in the Cincinnati area did not have access to libraries filled with books or even the text books necessary for classroom lessons. The Laman twins wanted to help. With a desire to share their own love for reading, they decided to start a “business” to donate books to kids.
Hannah and Alex were both persistent in pursuing the idea with their mother, who ran a business from home. With some guidance from their parents, they went through the process to incorporate and received the 501-c3 non-profit designation. They named their "business" Adopt A Book.
“From the moment of inspiration, to the first box of books, Hannah and Alex, drove the effort to collect and distribute the books to children and schools in need,” said their mother Angela Laman. “Other than depending on someone for transportation, they personally collected and distributed the books for donation. They met with community, business, and charity organization leaders personally to secure donated books, and distribute them to kids in need.”
News of the effort spread quickly into schools and businesses throughout the community. Book drives were organized and more books were collected. Other schools joined in the effort, as did corporations. Barnes and Noble; Procter and Gamble, Goddard Schools, Hatton Institute for Research, Department of Treasury, BKD Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Saxton, Q102 Radio, Truepoint Wealth Counsel, Villa Madonna Academy, Intelligrated and Ethos Laboratories have all hosted book donation fundraisers for Adopt A Book. The donated books are provided to organizations that serve children in need.
Through February of 2018 – in just over seven years – the Laman twins have distributed nearly 133,000 books to over 100 locations. Those locations include schools and organizations where they provide reading opportunities for school children throughout Northern Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Cincinnati and many surrounding counties throughout the state of Ohio. Their helping hand has stretched all the way to Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico.
“Adopt A Book has had more success than I ever thought it would,” said Hannah Laman. “I never thought that there would be this big of a need for books, so when we continuously received requests for donations, my eyes were opened. I hope that we only continue to grow because the more we grow, the more impact we are having on others.”
“I am excited to keep growing our organization and keep helping more people by spreading the love of reading,” said Alex Laman. “I never imagined how much we've grown over the years and so happy to give back.”
This February they made their radio debut with Hubbard Broadcast on four radio stations with a public service announcement for Adopt A Book; they have been recognized with multiple awards for their achievements, including being among the youngest ever to be recognized by United Way
as “Leaders and Legends” for their work in and around the community. As a result, schools, teachers, and school children receive books they can call their own; a gift of reading they otherwise would not have.
“Books are a universal need and will never go out of style,” said Hannah. “Kids need them in order to learn and grow and I feel are an essential part of childhood. That is why I still have the drive to want to collect books for these kids as it is so important.”
“I continue to collect books because there are always people that will need our help and have never had access to books,” said Alex. “There is always a difference we can make in and around our community. We always need to help others in our community. Literacy is necessary for an intelligent and healthy mind.”
As the Loveland students – now at Loveland High School – continue to grow, their non-profit continues to evolve. In the last year, Hannah and Alex expanded their donation from books to donating bookshelves and “reading buddies” to help kids and child organizations create personal reading spaces. They have also been active with the Saturday Hoops program hosted at the OTR Recreation Center by helping to establish and furnish a reading room.
“As parents, my husband and I couldn't be more proud of Hannah and Alex's drive and continued passion in encouraging others to want to read,” said Angela. “Both Hannah and Alex make a great team together and have been encouraged by others in our community to continue their mission. It has been a humbling experience for us to witness so many children and families being impacted by the gift of a book.”
“Hannah and Alex are amazing – simply amazing – and the impact that they have had on students across the world is unbelievable!” said LHS Principal Peggy Johnson. “We are so, so proud of them.”
Want to learn more about Adopt A Book? Visit the website at: www.adoptabookohio.org
.Photo caption: LHS students Hannah and Alex Laman have collected 133,000 books for donation to students in need through their non-profit Adopt A Book.